Why We Do It
Arson is the act of deliberately and wilfully setting fire to the property of another. It causes millions of pounds of damage to property and the environment each year. It is the largest single cause of major fires in the UK, and as a result it has attracted increasing and critical attention looking at means to tackle it.
The cost of arson to Welsh communities go beyond the financial cost alone; often arson wrecks lives, it destroys entire families, it can harm our communities and damage ecosystems and habitats of wildlife for years to come. It can affect businesses, putting them out of action for months – even causing them to close. This can have the knock on effect on the people it employs and the businesses located within the area which may also be reliant, resulting in damage to the local and national economy. Arson now accounts for over 70% of all fires, rising to 82% in certain localities.
At its worst, arson leads to loss of life and significant financial damage but persistent and pervasive minor arson also sets a strongly detrimental (and visually harmful) tone to communities.
Arson is defined in Section 1 (3) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 – 'an offence committed under this section by destroying or damaging property by fire shall be charged with arson'.
Arson is a complex and serious crime that carries the maximum punishment of a life sentence. It has a wide variety of causes: vandalism; playing with fire; crime concealment; revenge; fraud; and mental illness to name just a few. The Arson Reduction Team actively work with the Police to ensure all acts of arson no matter how small are investigated and acted upon wherever possible.
The levels of arson we are currently experiencing are unsustainable in the current economic climate, the Arson Reduction Team is doing its utmost to minimize these problems and protect the communities within Mid and West Wales.